Cyprus reported one coronavirus death on Monday and a surge in new cases to 715, with hospitalisations continuing to rise to 149, as the government announced new measures targeting anti-vaxxers.
From 15 December, unvaccinated people will be banned from social events such as weddings, christenings, hospitality, and sports venues, as the government tightens restrictions and encourages the public to get a booster jab.
Earlier on Monday, Health Minister Michalis Hadjipantelas announced the tightening of measures to get ahead of the spread of the highly transmissble Omicron variant of COVID-19.
The latest victim of the pandemic was an 85-year-old woman, taking the death toll since the pandemic started to 611, 14 of them in December.
After dipping to 393 on Sunday, daily infections nearly doubled to 715 on Monday, above the recent high of 706 recorded last Monday.
Hospitalisations continued on their upward trend and increased by three to 149, with more serious cases dropping by three, at 55.
Intubated patients decreased by three to 15, while 77% of hospital patients were reported as unvaccinated.
Six patients are still considered post-Covid, having recovered from the virus, but remain intubated and in a serious state.
The total number of SARS-CoV-2 infections since March 2020 rose to 141,566.
Testing shot up on Monday, with 106,521 PCR and antigen rapid tests, about 42,000 more than the day before, as tests resumed at schools with 20,000 samples.
Of the 8,231 tests in primary schools 23 were reported as positive cases, and 14 new cases from 11,802 tests in high schools.
With a rapid rise in tests and daily infections, the benchmark ‘test positivity’ rate rose to 0.67%, from 0.61%, below the high-risk threshold of 1%.
Of the new infections, 51 were identified through contact tracing linked to earlier infections, 30 were passengers arriving at Larnaca and Paphos airports, and 124 were diagnosed from private initiative, hospital, and GP tests.
A further 372 cases were identified from private rapid tests at labs and pharmacies, and 138 were positive from the free national testing programme, available only to those vaccinated or recovered from earlier infections.
Two of the 1,140 tests at retirement homes were positive, a further two from 800 tests in restricted institutions, while all of the 350 tests at special schools were negative.